Montreal Day 01 Wrap-Up: Mixed Feelings for the Seeds
Written by Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque | August 4th, 2014
MONTREAL – Four seeds were in action on the first day of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and only two of them got through to the second round. Here is a wrap-up of the events of the day.
Lisicki wins battle of former Grand Slam finalists
The first round match between Sabine Lisicki and 13th seed Sara Errani was the most intriguing on paper: two players, one a natural attacker and the other one a high-level defender, and two former Grand Slam finalists. The German has struggled in 2014, except for her cherished Wimbledon tournament, and had never won a match in Montreal in her previous two tries. But she played what could be considered a perfect first set, hitting an outstanding 18 winners to none for her opponent, and came back late in the second to wrap up the match in two sets. This is a very positive win for Lisicki, who will face the winner of the Kuznetsova/Keys first round, another tough-to-call opener, in what is the most open section of the draw.
Points come and go…
Last year, Sorana Cirstea literally came out of nowhere to reach the Rogers Cup final in Toronto, beating back-to-back the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Petra Kvitova and Na Li. It was one of the most impressive series of wins of the year, but also a large amount of points all crammed in a single week. It was good enough to keep her in the top 40 all year, but there was a large risk of a major drop in case of an early exit in Montreal. When the draw was made and her first round opponent was known (Czech Lucie Safarova, Wimbledon semifinalist and 15th seed), a few people cringed at the possible impact on her rankings. After an expected 6-4 6-2 win by Safarova today, it was confirmed that Cirstea would most likely drop out of the top 80. A tough road ahead for the Romanian who will now have to fight her way back to the top 50.
Tough night for local wildcards
Françoise Abanda and Aleksandra Wozniak, the two Canadian wildcards of the tournament, had a difficult night on Monday against higher-ranked opponents. While Abanda managed to win a set against 12th-seed Cibulkova in her first ever Rogers Cup main draw, Wozniak struggled to find any rhythm against Sloane Stephens and lost in two quick sets. Abanda, who is only 17, has been climbing up the ranks quickly after a very successful junior career and said herself that she ‘‘played one of [her] best matches ever tonight’’. Usually very-calm-bordering-on-stoic, she showed more emotions tonight, an encouraging signs of things to come. Clearly, this is the first of many more Rogers Cup main draw appearances for her. Wozniak, on the other hand, has had her fair shares of appearances at the Rogers Cup, and this one won’t go down in the books. Simply overplayed for most of the match, she lacked some depth on her shots and her shoulder issues of the past few years were put forth when serving. Asked whether she feels frustrated about being far from her best level, she mentioned that she needs to ‘’work, and work a lot’’ with coach Nathalie Tauziat. The two remaining local hopes, Stéphanie Dubois and Eugenie Bouchard, will play their first matches tomorrow.
[Q] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) def (12) Flavia Pennetta 7-6 (5) 6-3
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) def. Alison Riske (USA) 6-1 6-3
Klara Koukalova (CZE) def. Kiki Bertens 7-5 7-6 (5)
[Q] Shelby Rogers (USA) def. [WC] Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) 6-4 7-6 (5)
Alize Cornet (FRA) def. Lauren Davis (USA) 6-3 7-5
[Q] Heather Watson (GBR) def. [Q] Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 6-4 5-7 6-4
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) def. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 7-5 7-5